Alamitos Neighborhood Library reopens today after being closed for 21 months

The Alamitos Neighborhood Library reopens today at noon after undergoing an extensive heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) replacement project, city officials announced today. The library had been closed since March 2020.

“To ensure the HVAC replacement could be completed in a way that would preserve the historic integrity of the building, the location remained closed to the public throughout the duration of the project,” city officials said in a news release.

Starting today, the library will resume its usual hours:

  • Tuesday, noon-7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, noon-6 p.m.
  • Thursday, noon-7 p.m.
  • Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The library, constructed in 1929 to replace an earlier library built in 1897, is the oldest building in the city’s public library system. Paid for entirely with city oil revenue, the library opened with 20,000 books, according to the city.

The library was heavily damaged in the 1933 earthquake, though no one inside was injured. As books began falling from the shelves, librarian Lena Tipton evacuated the building with what she thought were all the patrons.

But when she returned inside after the shaking subsided, she found a man at the front desk, “entirely calm, with his book in his hand to be stamped for borrowing, just as if nothing in the world had occurred,” Tipton recalled in an oral history.

“I reached for the stamping pencil and made my hand stamp somewhere on the date slip, wondering all the time what manner of man this could be,” Tipton said. “My hand was trembling so I could hardly grasp the pencil and I know I stamped wide of the place where a stamp should be set. The patron smiled and thanked me and without another word left the building, entirely unruffled.”

The city urges all Alamitos Neighborhood Library patrons to check the Library’s website at lbpl.org for updates on the resumption of public programs such as story time at this location.

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Anthony Pignataro is an investigative reporter and editor for the Long Beach Post. He has close to three decades of experience in journalism leading numerous investigations and long-form journalism projects for the OC Weekly and other publications. He joined the Post in May 2021.
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